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Course 1: Communications for Managers Course
Business Communications for Managers Course
Business Communication: DEFINITION AND SCOPE
Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can’t, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it. -Robert Frost
This unit identifies Public speaking as a type of communicative event. Uses and occasions of public speaking. Essentials of public speaking, attitudes required for the same and the paralinguistic and non verbal aspects of pubic speaking.
Distinction between Media and Channel
Media are to be distinguished. Media are concerned with the form or mode into which the message is placed. The channel is the technical transmission of that medium to reach the receiver. Combination of these two put together act as the means of communication. Both are necessary. Selection of media cannot be planned without the channel. In an organization a channel provides a link between various levels. The link may be between individuals, between individuals and departments and between departments. The organization structure may create a formal channel from top to bottom. It is an officially fixed route through which the flow of communication is directed. The channel is based on officially designated positions and functions. Formal channel is official and official messages move. Informal channel called a’ grapevine is an unofficial channel. Thus communication channel has different directions - flat network, tall network, formal channel, informal channel, upward channel, horizontal channel, internal and external channel.
Communication rules are such implicit understandings (generally unwritten and unspoken) that allow people to read behaviour in similar ways (in other words, to share meanings) and that specify just and appropriate ways to communicate with others in given roles and contexts.
There are two principal kinds of rules: constitutive rules and regulative rules. Constitutive rules tell us what a certain behaviour means. Regulative rules, on the other hand, tell us what we should and should not do. These rules become instrumental in structuring and coordinating interactions by providing answers to questions such as the following:
The regulative rules in organizations are framed and, adopted in order to prescribe:
˜ Priority of topics and
You might have noticed that some organizations formulate rules relating to who has access to whom, but the degree of rigidity of the rule, however, may vary from organization to organization. The people at the senior level, who decide what topics need to be discussed, often decide the rules relating to the priority of topics and the order of discussions as determined by the urgency of the topic.
Principles of Communication
Communication is derived from the Latin word communis, which means, “ to share” that is, sharing of ideas, concepts, feelings and emotions. The science of communication is almost as old as man himself. Form time immemorial; the need to share or to communicate had been felt. Different vehicles / channels were identified and subsequently improvised for the purpose of transmission of ideas and concepts. A study of these channels enables us to gain an insight into the process of communication.
Before a definition of communication is arrived at, a few queries, which arise in the minds of the readers, have to be answered. What is the importance of communication? Why should it be studied? Why should the channel be analyzed and examined?
The importance of communication can be gauged from the fact that we are communicating in some from or the other almost every moment of our lives. Whether we are walking,, talking ,playing, sitting, or even sleeping, a message is being formulated and transmitted. Man, who is a social animal, is constantly interacting with other individuals. For him it is necessary to understand the art of communication and apply or modify it in a suitable manner. Man possesses the ability to communicate, which is much more than a composition of certain symbolize or to understand concepts in terms of images or symbols. It is this ability that helps him to communicate. Communication then, it may be stated, is much more than an understanding of the spoken or written language. It is a composite of symbols, gestures, and illustrations that accompany either the spoken or the written word.
DEFINITION OF COMMUNICATION
Communication is a two-way process in which there is an exchange and progression of ideas towards a mutually accepted direction or goal. For this process to materialize, it is essential that the basic elements of communication be identified. These elements are.
1. Sender / Encoder/ Speaker
2. Receiver/ Decoder/ Listener
Sender/ Encoder/ Speaker
The person who initiates the communication process is normally referred to as the sender. From his personal data bank he selects ideas, encodes and finally transits them to the receiver. The entire burden of communication then rests upon the sender or encoder. His choice of images and words the combination of the two is what goads the receiver to listen carefully. In this process a number of factors come into play, primary among them being an understanding of the recipient and his needs. If the message can be formulated in accordance with the expectations of the receiver, the level of acceptance is going to be higher. For example, a consultant wishes to communicate with the HRD manager of a company. The objective is to secure consultancy projects on training of personnel. If the consultant wishes the HRD manager to communicate with him, he has to ensure that their goals converge. He has a tough task ahead of him. The manager had been interacting with many consultants. Why should he pay heed to the proposal of this consultant? In a situation such as this, a good strategy to be adop0ted is to expand the purview of the proposal and make it company specific. The result could be highlighted and spelt out in terms of increase in sales. If sufficient preparation has been done, the message too would increase in sales. If sufficient preparation has been done, the message too would be formulated in a manner conducive to the interests of the HRD manager.
Receiver/ Decoder/ Listener
The listener receives an encoded message which he attempts to decode. This process is carried on in relation to the work environment and the value
perceived in terms of the work situation. If the goal of the
Decoding of sender is envisioned as similar to his own, the listener
Message becomes more receptive. The decoding of the message is done in almost entirely the same terms as were intended by the sender. In the example cited above, as soon as the HRD manager realizes that the proposal of the consultant is going to result in tangible benefits, he becomes more receptive and his interest in communication is reinforced.
Message is the encoded idea transmitted by the sender. The formulation of the message is very important, for an incorrect patterning can turn the receiver
Formulation of message
Hostile or make him lose interest. At this stage the sender
Has to be extremely cautious. What is the order in which he
Would like to present his ideas? Suppose he has four points to make would he (a) move in the stereotyped manner of presenting them in a sequence or (b) would he like to be innovative and proceed in a creative way? Probability is high that in case (a) he might become monotonous and in case (b) he might touch a wrong spot. How then should the message be formulated and transmitted? The ordering, as stated earlier, should be based on the requirements of the listener so that its significance is immediately grasped. The minute the receiver finds his goals codified in the message, he sits up, listens and responds. The message thus has made an impact.
Another important element of communication is the medium or channel. It could be oral, written or non-verbal. Prior to the composition of the message, the medium / channel should be decided. Each medium follows its own set of
Selection of rules and regulations. For example, in oral communication one can
medium —oral, afford to be a little informal, but when using the written mode, all
written or non- rules of communication need to be observed. It must be remember-
verbal ed that anything in writing is a document that would be filed for records or circulated to all concerned.
This is the most important component of communication. Effective communication takes place only when there is feedback. The errors and flaws that abound in business situations are a result of lack of feedback. Le us take
Feedback Completes Loop of Communication
A look at the typical responses of people involved in miscommunication: “ this is not what I meant” or “ This is not what I said”, or “this was not my intention”. If feedback is solicited on all occasions, this error can be minimized or even completely done away with. Fallacious statements or erroneous conclusions are made because of lack of confirmation through feedback and discrepancy between the message transmitted and understood.
PROCESS OF COMMINICATION
The sender, according to his ideas, behaviour pattern and intention, selects a message, encodes it, and transmits it to the receiver through a medium — be it
Oral, verbal or non-verbal. As soon as the message reaches the receiver, he decodes it and gives an internal response to the perceived message. It is noteworthy that the response in not in relation to the actual content but rather to the “ perceived content” of the original message. This completes the first phase of the communication process. Interestingly at this point words in themselves have no meaning. It is the perception of a particular ward and the intention behind it that assigns it meaning. The manner in which the sender and receiver perceive the same word could give rise to difference in encoding and decoding.
In the second phase, the receiver formulates his message, encodes it and transmits it to the original sender now turned-receiver. This stage is referred to as providing feedback and is most crucial. Unless and until there is feedback——— be it in the verbal or the non—verbal form—, we cannot say that
Effective communication had taken place. If the feedback is in tune with the original intent of the sender, communication proceeds without a hitch. However, there could be moments when the receiver does not agree with the message of sender. This does not mean that there is breakdown of communication. We can, in such instances state that effective communication is stalled for the time being. It could resume after subsequent discussions.
For the process of communication to be effective, there should be a well-defined goal in the mind of the sender. Harmony between the goals of the two communications makes for good and easy progression of ideas and concepts. Whatever be the initial situation, the sender necessarily needs to adhere to the following stages.
1. Create awareness in the mind of the receiver on the topic.
2. Propose his point of view with clarity and preciseness so as to eliminate possibilities of confusion in the mind of the receiver.
3. Enable smooth flow of discussion through observance of communication strategies.
4. Reinforce of correct ideas in the mind of the receiver concerning the goal of communication.
5. Achieve the goal of communication.
At the time of transmission and reception of message, all our five senses play an important role in grasping its intent. The sense that is predominantly active at a particular stage helps in a higher degree of absorption, for example, in the of the communication, if the visual sense at a particular moment, is highly active, we respond only to the visual cues.
Ethnomethodologists have identified different organizational features in a piece of conversation. E.A Schegloff lists seven such aspects, out of which the first is of direct relevance as it helps in facilitating the process of communication. The first rule states that: A turn-taking system allocates turns to the speakers in the following manner.
1. The first speaker selects the one to talk next (by asking questions/tag questions, etc.) or
2. The speaker who self selects continues speaking for a whole turn.
The entire process of communication hinges on this rule. The sender, if he desires to control communication, has to chalk out strategies by which the receiver is led to agree to his goal, and a lot of strategies need to be planned, e.g., transmitting visual signs or clues that prompt a receiver to pick up the cues and start communication or fill in the gaps or conclude. These signals form an essential part of the entire process. Together with identification of these signals, there should also be an accurate interpretation and response. A wrong step or a move at an incorrect moment can abruptly bring the communication to a close. For example,
Person A: “ where is John?”
Person B:” he has been working hard to please the boss.”
A statement of this kind is unwarranted and does not speak very highly either of John or of B. IF A is sensitive, he would realize that the cues sand signals being emitted to him necessitate an additional sarcastic remark or a chuckle. The turn has perforce been allocated to him and he should decide whether he wishes to carry on the communication in a similar vein or wishes to change the trend of the interaction.
A number of factors come into play when a statement of this kind is made and communication still carries on: the relationship between A and B, the urgency to get on with higher goal issues, and a desire on the part of A not to displease B.
Identification of the cues and signals helps in turning the discussion in the desired direction. Hence, it becomes imperative that the turn-taking system be
Thoroughly understood so that the sender can juxtapose his comments and suggestions at the right moment and steer the communication along goal-oriented channels.
BASIC PURPOSE OF COMMUNICATION
“What is the purpose of (formal) communication?” A response to a query of this nature would be more beneficial if attempts were made to understand the business situation where success or failure of issues is always measured in terms of man-hours spent in the completion of a task. Let us take an example. Suppose the boss issues instructions to his subordinate to complete a certain project in a particular manner within a stipulated timeframe. The subordinate does it to the best of his ability. However, the end result is a miserable failure because the manner of completion does not match with the expectations of the boss. A lot of time has been wasted as a result of miscommunication on the part of the two members of the same organization. In fact, more first instance. If the amount of time used in completion of this particular task is calculated, it would be seen that double the time necessary has been taken.
The example cited above is one of the most common and prevailing examples of miscommunication resulting from a lack of feedback in organizations. This, however, is not the only criterion that that qualifies for an in-depth study of communication. Let us take a look at the communicative competence required at three different levels in an organization.
Helps in co-ordinating, collating, and issuing instructions
In the business situation the of a manager, as he goes higher up in the hierarchy is to coordinate, issue instructions, collate information, and then present it. All these activities require effective communication skills the sooner these skills are honed, the easier it is for the manager to accomplish tasks. Similar is the case of the junior manager vying for a quick promotion. As work in the organization is always done in conjunction with other people, effective communication skills become a necessity. Let us compare the progression of two junior managers up the ladder of success possessing almost the same academic qualifications and almost similar personality traits. Only one of them would be able to make it to the managing Director’s chair. Without doubt it would be the candidate with excellent communication skills.
Bring improvement in speaking abilities, listening, interacting, writing, convincing and persuading
Prior to entry in any organization, certain communicative abilities are also looked for in candidates. Ability to speak, conduct oneself properly in an interview, get along with others, listen carefully and accurately, make effective presentations, prepare good yet brief report, make proposals, sell ideas, convince and persuade others are some of the attributes looked for in a candidate. If an individual possesses these attributes looked for in a candidate. If an individual possesses these attributes or can train himself to excel in them, he himself would realize how much easier it is for him only to secure a comfortable position in an organization but also to achieve success.
TYPES OF COMMUNICATION
We can categories communication under heads: oral, non-verbal, and written.
(a) Body language
(b) Signs and symbols
(c) Territory / Zone
(d) Object language
(e) Facsimiles (FAX)
7 C’S AND 4 S’S FOR EFFICIENT COMMUNICATION
In any business environment, adherence to the 7 C’s and the 4 S’s helps the sender in transmitting his message with ease and accuracy. Let us first take a look at the 7 C’s:
1:Credibility. If the sender can establish his credibility, the receiver has no problems in accepting his statement. Establishing credibility is not the outcome of a one-shot statement. It is a long-drawn out process ‘in which the receiver through constant intellection with the sender understands his credible nature and is willing to accept his statements as being truthful and honest.
Courtesy. Once the credibility of the sender.’ has been established, attempts should be made, at being courteous in expression. In the business ‘world, almost everything starts with and ends in courtesy. Much can be accomplished if tact, diplomacy and appreciation of people are woven In t e message.
(a) Niti : “You can never do things right. Try working on this project. If you are lucky You may not have to redo it.”
(b) Niti: “This is an interesting’ project. Do you think you would be able to do it. Know last time something went wrong with the project, but everyone makes mistakes. Suppose we sat down and discussed it threadbare I’m sure you would be able to do wonders.
The two - statements convey totally different impressions. While the first statement is more accusative, the second is more tactful and appreciative of the efforts put in by the receiver at an earlier stage. The crux of the message in both the statements is the same: You want an individual within an organization to undertake a project. The manner in which it is stated brings about a difference in approach. Further, expressions that might hurt or cause mental pain to the receiver should, as far as possible, be ignored. For this it becomes essential that the “I”-attitude be discarded in favour of the “you”-attitude. Development of interest in the “you” will perforce make the other individual also see the point of view of the other. At the time of emphasizing the “you-attitude”, only the positive and pleasant “you-issues” should be considered. If it is being used as a corrective measure, then the results are not going to be very positive or encouraging.
Clarity. Absolute clarity of ideas adds much to the meaning of the message. The first stage is clarity in the mind of the sender. The next stage is the transmission of the message in a manner which makes it simple for the receiver to comprehend. As far as possible, simple language and easy sentence constructions, which are “not difficult for the receiver to grasp should be used
4. Correctness. At the time of encoding the sender should ensure that his knowledge of the receiver is comprehensive. The level of knowledge educational backgroug and status oaf the decoder help the encoder in formulating his message. In case there is any discrepancy between the usage and comprehension of terms. Miscommunication can arise. If the sender decides to back up his communication with facts and figures, there should be accuracy in stating the same. A situation in which the listener is forced to check the presented facts and figures should not arise. Finally, the usage of terms should be nondiscriminatory, e.g. the general concept is that women should be addressed for their physical appearance whereas men for their mental abilities. This, however, is a stereotype and at the time of addressing or praising members of both the sexes, the attributes -assigned should be the same. Similarly for occupational references. In the business world almost all professions are treated with respect. Addressing one individual for competence in his profession but neglecting the other on this score because of a so-called ‘inferior’ profession alienates the listener from the sender.
Consistency. The approach to communication should, as far as possible, be consistent. There should not be too marry ups and downs that might lead to confusion In the mind of the- receiver. If a certain stand has been taken, It should be observed without there being situations in which the sender is left groping for the. Actual content or meaning. If the sender desires to bring about a change in his understanding of the situation, he should ensure that the shift is gradual and not hard for the receiver to comprehend.
Concreteness. Concrete and specific expressions are to be preferred in favor of vague and abstract expressions. ln continuation at the point on correctness, the facts and figures presented should be specific. Abstractions or abstract statements can cloud the mind of the sender. Instead of stating: “There has been a tremendous escalation in the sales figure”, suppose the sender made the following statement: “There has been an escalation in the sales figures by almost 50% as compared to last year.” The receiver is more apt to listen and comprehend the factual details.
Conciseness. The message to be communicated should be as brief and concise as possible. Weightily language definitely sounds impressive but people would be suitable impressed into doing precisely nothing. As far as possible only simple and brief statements should be made. Excessive information can also sways the receiver into either a wrong direction or into inaction. Quantum of information should be just right, neither too much nor too little, e.g.
Inmost cases it has been seen that the date of the policy...
Usually the policy date...
In the first example, the statement is rather long and convoluted. However, the second example gives it the appearance of being crisp, concise and to the point.
EXHIBIT 1.5 7 C’s
c:s Relevance Credibility Courtesy Clarity Correctness Conciseness Consistency Concreteness Builds trust Improves relationships Makes comprehension easier Builds confidence Introduces stability Reinforces confidence Saves time
An understanding of the 4 S’s is equally important.
Shortness . “Brevity is the soul of wit,” it is said. The same can be said about communication. If the message can be made brief, and verbosity done away with, then transmission and comprehension of messages is going to be faster and more effective. Flooding messages with high sounding words does not create an impact. Many people larbour a misconception that they can actually impress the receiver, if they carry on their expeditious travails. Little do they realise how much they have lost as the receiver has spent a major chunk of his time in trying to decipher the actual meaning of the message
simplicity. Simplicity both in the usage of words and ideas reveals a clarity in the thinking process. It is normally a tendency that when an individual is himself confused that he tries to use equally confusing strategies to Iead the receiver in a maze. Reveal clarity in the thinking process by using simple terminology and equally simple concepts.
strength. The strength of a message emanates from the credibility of the sender. If the sender himself believes in a message that he is about to transmit, there is bound to be strength and conviction in whatever he tries to state. Half-hearted statements or utterances that the sender himself does not believe in adds a touch of falsehood to’ the entire communication process.
Sincerity. A sincere approach to an issue is clearly evident to the receiver. If the sender is genuine, it will be reflected in the manner in which the communicates Suppose there is a small element of deceit involved in the interaction or on the part of the sender. If the receiver is keen and observant, he would be able to sense the make-believe situation and, business transactions, even if going full swing, would not materialize.
Shortness Simplicity Strength Sincerity Economizes Impresses Convinces Appeals
FILTERING AND DISTORTION OF MESSAGE-an oral perspective
Filtering with reference to communication refers to a part of interpretation process of communication. When a message is transmitted through translation, explanation, simplification some part of it goes distorted or-filtered. Soon after receiving the message, the receiver has to interpret the impulse or idea of the sender. The accurate interpretation will depend upon the past knowledge, experience, beliefs, attitudes, etc.
It is in the interpretation process, a person may filter some bits of information. When the idea passes through the mind, some pieces of information are ignored or filtered out and others are added. In the words Of Leland Brown, certain beliefs, likes and dislikes, have programmed certain behavior pattern that serve as the basis for an individual’s cognitive structure. The expression “cognitive structure” refers to a “set of values, attitudes, knowledge and expectations that in turn causes rejection or acceptance of the bits of information.” This is what exactly the process of filtration describes.
There are three types of filtering. They are:
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1. The response received to a message is called
a. Encoding; b. channel; c. feedback.
2. Very often, the
a. loud; b. nonverbal; c. written.
message is more important than the verbal one.
3. Effective communication
a. takes up a lot of time; b. saves time; c. is a waste of time.
4. Communication network in any organisation is
a. internal and external; b. verbal and written; c. oral and non-verbal
5. Listener pays heed to the verbal content
a. 7%; b. 38%,0 c. 55% of the time.
6. Body language is
a. structured; b. faked; c. involuntary.
7. Message is the
a. raw; b. structured; c. encoded.
idea transmitted by the sender_
8. a. E.A. Schegloff; b.. H.P. Grice; c. G.N. Leech.
lists seven aspects in the turn taking system
9. Ability to communicate effectively
a. is inborn; b. can be developed; c. cannot be developed.
10. Upward and downward flow of messages constitute
a. vertical communication; b. horizontal communication; c. diagonal
B. Match the following
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